MLB Rumors

Rangers' Tanner Scheppers impressing early
by Chris Cwik |

Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers has impressed during camp, according to

Scheppers missed a large portion of last season due to an elbow issue. He was able to throw batting practice on Thursday, and drew rave reviews from pitching coach Mike Maddux. "He's coming out free and easy with a loose arm," Maddux said. "He's got a little attitude, but he always does."

Scheppers said he was just glad to be back on the mound. "I'm seriously just happy to be out there," Scheppers said. "It has been seven months since I've faced hitters. I'm just happy to be playing baseball and feeling great."

The 28-year-old posted a 9.00 ERA over 23 innings last season. 

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Mariners' Felix Hernandez: I'll be ready for game action soon
by Igor Mello |

Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, who shed six-to-seven pounds in the offseason, told reporters he's off to a strong start this spring following a 30-pitch bullpen session, according to the Tacoma News Tribune on Thursday.

"Pretty good," Hernandez said. "I'm telling you, that was pretty good."

Hernandez also hinted that he's practically ready for game action.

"I don't need to throw a lot of bullpens," Hernandez said. "Two or three, a live BP and I'll be ready for a game."

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Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo won't push himself early
by Chris Cwik |

Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo isn't going to go all out yet, according to

Choo had season-ending elbow surgery last August, but feels pretty good in camp. He's been able to participate in every drill with outfielders thus far, but added that he's not going to push himself too hard. "It's a long Spring Training," Choo said. "There are going to be some days when I'm sore, but no issues. I'm not worried about it."

Choo, 32, hit .242/.340/.374 over 445 at-bats last year. 

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Mariners' Morrison spends offseason working on improving durability
by Michael Hurcomb |

Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison has struggled to stay healthy through his first five years in the majors. In order to improve his durability, Morrison said he hired a new trainer in the offseason, per The News Tribune.

“I think I’m a little more educated about my body,” he said. “He’s given me a program to do -- whether it’s a warm-up every day or a three-day-a-week workout program. Hopefully, that will keep me healthy.”

Morrison is confident he will be a valuable part of the lineup, as long as he can stay healthy.

“Just put me in the lineup every day,” he vowed, “and I’ll produce. It’s up to me to stay in the lineup, but if I’m in the lineup every day, I know I’m going to hit, and I know I’m going to hit well and be a force in the lineup.”

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is optimistic Morrison can reach his full potential.

“LoMo is relatively young as far as active years under his belt,” McClendon said. “He’s still maturing from that standpoint. He’s still learning. I think his ceiling is very high.

“I think, all in all, he’s got a chance to be  a guy who can hit 25 home runs for us and drive in 100. He’s a good hitter. He hits left-handers and right-handers. He takes his walks."

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Rangers to be cautious with Mitch Moreland
by Chris Cwik |

The Rangers will be cautious with Mitch Moreland this spring, according to

Moreland had ankle surgery last June, and the team is going to bring him along slowly early in camp. Moreland will be held back from running for a bit, and will be limited in how many grounders he takes at first. Moreland said he feels good, but acknowledges that the team wants to be extra careful. 

"I feel good, but the training staff has talked with me and got me on a good solid routine to make sure I come out of camp feeling good and feeling healthy," Moreland said. "So we're playing it over-cautiously so I'll be ready to roll by Day 1."

Moreland is also expected to play the outfield this season, but the team is going to wait until later in camp to get him out there.

The 29-year-old Moreland hit .246/.297/.347 over 167 at-bats last year. 

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Royals' Infante having no health issues at start of spring training
by Michael Hurcomb |

Royals second baseman Omar Infante dealt with some injury issues in 2014, including soreness in his elbow, back and shoulder. However, after two days of throwing and hitting at camp, Infante is feeling fine, per

"Everything's good," Infante said on Thursday. "I'm trying to take it a little slow, but right now it all feels fine.

"The shoulder is fine now. I don't really feel anything with [the elbow] either, maybe just a little bit. Not worried."

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Report: Angels' Hamilton won't receive a ruling on Thursday
by Chris Cwik |

Major League Baseball will not announce a possible suspension for Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton on Thursday, according to

Hamilton met with the league for a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday. Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported that Hamilton relapsed a few months ago, and told MLB about his relapse. It's not clear how Hamilton will be treated given his history with drugs and alcohol. Hamilton is technically a first-time offender since his past suspensions happened when he was a minor-leaguer, but it appears it will be up to commissioner Rob Manfred will make the decision about a possible Hamilton suspension.

The 33-year-old Hamilton was already sidelined after having offseason surgery. He hit .263/.331/.414 over 338 at-bats last year.  

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Tigers' Joel Hanrahan unsure about his next step
by Chris Cwik |

Tigers reliever Joel Hanrahan isn't sure what's next after being shut down from throwing, according to Peter Gammons. 

Hanrahan had Tommy John surgery back in 2013, and did not pitch in the majors last season while he was recovering. He had trouble getting through a recent bullpen session, and was shut down by Detroit. 

The 33-year-old has a career 3.85 ERA over 404 2/3 innings. 

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Red Sox OF Castillo: Staying in box 'wasn't all that difficult'
by R.J. White |

The league's proposed new rule preventing batters from stepping out of the batter's box isn't new to Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo, who had to adjust to a similar rule when playing under the Baseball Federation of Cuba, reports.

"The game used to be really long, but about two years ago they implemented the rule we're trying to implement, with the hitter staying in the box," Castillo said. "That sped the game up a little bit. It did mess with some hitters, but for me, if I've got to do it, I've got to do it and I didn't think about all that much. It wasn't all that difficult for me, personally."

While the penalty for stepping out of the box under the proposed rule is a warning and potential fine, in Cuba batters receive a called strike for stepping out of the box. Cuban pitchers are also required to throw the ball within an alloted timespan.

"The biggest complaint is that people like to take that time to readjust and refocus," Castillo said. "It was just happening a little too quick, quicker than they wanted to. They wanted to control the tempo. It just took some time, but over the course of a season it just became normal. Now it's just normal. I don't know about a big difference, but it did make a difference."

Castillo will compete this spring to be the team's starting center fielder. He went 12 for 36 with two home runs and three stolen bases in his brief debut season.

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Marlins 2B Dee Gordon: 'I just want to score runs' in 2015
by Igor Mello |

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon told reporters Thursday that he won't put a number on how many bases he'll swipe this season, and is more focused on improving his on-base percentage and scoring runs in his first season with his new club, per

"No goal," Gordon said. "I just want to score runs. That's it. I scored a lot of runs last year, and I don't think nobody realizes that. Whatever [stolen bases] I get is what I get. Whatever is going to make me score is what I want to do."

Gordon led MLB last season with 64 stolen bags. His 92 runs were tied with then-teammate Yasiel Puig for eighth most in the National League. He hit .289/.326/.378 over 609 at-bats last season.

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